In terms of seeking treatment, Gray said the biggest barrier was not insurance as he thought it was, but rather the stigma surrounding getting help with mental health issues.
Langenecker said that unlike most health issues, what’s unique about mental health advocacy is that it often has to come from people other than the person with the issue.
“Most mental health issues affect people’s self-esteem and whether or not they believe they really deserve better treatment,” he said. “It means we’re not getting the best source of advocacy. Often, many people with mental health issues struggle in silence. “
Stress is a factor that contributes to mental health. Paula Williams, associate professor of psychology, studies individual differences in the regulation of stress, particularly how different personality factors have potential associations with stress.
Through his origins in the study of genetics, Williams developed an interest in the study of individual differences.
While studying stress, she says stress as a concept is actually quite difficult to define.
“One of the things that I’m really interested in is finding more sophisticated ways to measure it,” she said. “So my approach, following other stress researchers in the field, is to break it down into its parts.”
One of those parts is exposure to stress, or basically how often people experience daily hassles or major life events. Another part of particular interest to Williams is resilience, or how quickly people can return to their baseline stress levels.
Williams is also studying openness, a willingness to discover new things. She found that very open people actually seemed more resistant to stress.
“We found that openness predicted a unique profile in our lab stress study, so that while very open people reported negative emotions and felt stress, they also engaged in the process in a positive way. in some ways, ”she said.
Another important personality factor in regulating stress is aesthetics, or the tendency to be interested in art, nature and beauty.
“It’s one of those factors that we find is actually related to stress resilience in a variety of ways, including a growth orientation i.e. finding ways to deal with stress or learn from it, ”said Williams.
Although Williams is more of a mechanisms researcher, she noted the important intervention implications of her research findings. She is interested in whether resilience to stress can be increased by increasing areas of aesthetics in people’s lives through things like static stimuli, music, or exposure to nature.
According to Williams, studying stress is essential to understanding mental health, as stress-related issues can lead to mental health issues.
“I mean pretty much all forms of psychopathology either have stress as an etiological factor, it’s something that predicts the onset of a problem,” she said. “Or it exacerbates other mental health issues and aspects of stress, particularly stress-related sleep disorders.”
Williams conducted a study to better understand the implications of the pandemic for mental health. She found that the direction of growth was also protected during the pandemic.
“People who were looking for positive ways to thrive in the context of the pandemic ended up having less trouble sleeping and some of the other negative results,” she said.
While some enjoyed their time at home during the pandemic, others experienced increased stress and struggled with mental health issues. Williams said the stigma surrounding mental health was present during the stages of the pandemic when she conducted her study.
According to Williams, there are too many people who either do not seek help or seek it early enough, perhaps due to insufficient knowledge of mental health issues to be able to identify it in themselves.
“And I think that’s something we need to continue to focus on,” she said. a silver lining.